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The Mummy / The Night of Counting the Years (Al-Momia)

DFI Cinema

Shadi Abdel Salam / Feature Narrative / Egypt / 1969 / 103 min / Colour / 35mm
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Drama
Rated: Parental guidance is advised for viewers under the age of 13. Individuals under the age of 13 are not admitted into cinemas unless accompanied by an individual aged 18 or older.



When ancient pharaonic artifacts are found for sale on the black market late in the 19th century, Egyptian authorities jump into action, determined to prevent further tomb-raiding and preserve the relics of antiquity. So begins Shadi Abdel Salam’s ‘The Night of Counting the Years’, an eerie tale inspired by the real-life discovery of a cache of royal mummies – including that of Ramesses II – in the desert near Thebes.

The artifacts in question have been removed from ancient tombs and sold by the Horabat mountain tribe, who for generations have maintained the stash of treasure as a source of income in times of need. When one young Horabati decides to tell his family's secret, the authorities close in. Now, as the modern concept of preservation, the traditional life of a people and the dignity of the long-dead come into conflict, the question of who rightfully owns the mummies looms large.

Shot almost entirely at dusk or dawn, ‘The Night of Counting the Years’ is a haunting, dreamy story of an Egypt in search of its identity – one in which the dead, forgotten for millennia, seem ever-present, while the living fight over their legacy.

Restored in 2008 by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture from the original sound and camera negative preserved by the Egyptian Film Centre. The World Cinema Foundation is sponsored by Qatar Airways, Qatar Museums Authority, Cartier and Armani.

About the Director

Shadi Abdel Salam was born in Alexandria in 1930. He had a decades-long film career and is credited on films including Joseph L. Manckiewicz’s ‘Cleopatra’ (1962), Youssef Chahine’s ‘Saladin’ (1963) and Roberto Rossellini’s ‘Man’s Struggle for Survival’ (1967). He made his directorial debut with ‘The Night of Counting the Years’ in 1969, which won prizes at the Venice and Carthage International Film Festivals, and died in 1986 before completing ‘Akhnaten’.


Shadi Abdel Salam
Shadi Abdel Salam
Abdel Aziz Fahmi
Kamal Abou El Ella
Associate Producer
Mario Mascimbene
Ahmed Marei, Nadia Lotfi, Zouzou Hamdai Al Hakim, Ahmed Higazi


  • Print Source

    World Cinema Foundation

    World Cinema Foundation

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